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Champion of Change: White House set to Honor Little Rock Woman

Dee Ann Newell will be in Washington on Wednesday for ceremony.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (News Release) - Dee Ann Newell, M.A. of Little Rock is being honored at by the White House on Wednesday for her 25 years of work with children of incarcerated parents.

Newell is being honored by the White House Office of Public Engagement as a “Champion of Change” for the work she has done to create the organization Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind, an organization that operates on behalf of children with incarcerated parents, their parents, and their kinship caregivers or custodial parents.

The Office of Public Engagement of the White House was developed in 2011 to honor ordinary Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, and out-build the rest of the world. Each month, these Champions of Change are invited to the White House to share their ideas. At this particular ceremony, Sesame Street will also introduce their new line of products for children of the incarcerated, including a Muppet with a parent incarcerated and books and other materials. And finally, there will be new federal policies that seek to address the harm to children of prisoners due to lack of consideration.

Other honorees include: Susan D. Phillips, PhD, Washington, DC, MSW graduate of UALR School of Social Work and PhD. from the University of North Carolina at Durham, who worked with Dee Ann Newell in Arkansas in the 1990’s; Carol Burton of Centerforce in Oakland, CA; Claire Walker of Pittsburgh, PA, former director of the Pittsburgh Child Guidance Foundation; Wilson good, Director of the Amachi Program in Philadelphia; Ann Adalist-Estrin of the National Resource Center for Children of the Incarcerated and Families at Rutgers University in Connecticut; Elizabeth Gaines of the Osborne Association in New York; Emani Davis, winner of the World’s Children Nobel Prize Honorary Award; Cathy Fendly of Washington, DC; Nell Bernstein, San Francisco, author of All Alone in the World: Children the Incarcerated; Paula Fendall, New York City, Director the NYC Child Welfare Services to children of prisoners; Jeanette Betancourt, Senior vice-President for Outreach and Educational Practice at Sesame Street; Yali Lincroft, Berkeley, CA, Child Public Policy.

“The forcible separation of a parent and child by arrest and incarceration is a singular, traumatic event for the children, both those who know their parent and for those who know of their parent. Their grief is palpable and painful, but the separation is only one of the multiple risk factors impacting these children including poverty, living in communities of violence, and racism, alongside the stigma and shame. This White House event will see the first-ever provision of federal policies to soften the impact of parental loss. It is our hope that we will see further efforts, including diverting parents into productive programs without parent-child separation.” said Newell.
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